Posts Tagged ‘pictures’

From the time I first started delving into the world of firearms, one thing was abundantly clear:  The 1911 is the king of of the handgun jungle.  There have been many guns that have come and gone with little or no impact on gun culture.  The M1911 was clearly not one of those.  I decided to do some research and look into why this particular design is still so widely used and admired all around the world.

My first research came in the form of a poll.  I asked my readers to vote whether or not they owned a 1911.  If they didn’t, I asked if they wanted one.  Of the 30 people who voted, 20 said that yes, they in fact owned a 1911 of some form or another.  Beyond that, 5 people who didn’t currently have one wanted one.  Only a few noted that they didn’t want one at all.  I know that most of my readers are gun owners  and they probably own a variety of different weapons.  Not everyone likes the same things, and yet 2/3 of those who voted owned a 1911.

I decided to cruise the web in search of more information.  I found more than I could read in a lifetime unfortunately.  Every gun forum has threads dedicated exclusively to the 1911.  On some of those forums I found people just like me who were trying to find out exactly why everyone loves them so much.  Other forum members were trying to understand why nobody could accept change and innovation, preferring to stick with old designs rather than newer ones.  Many answered by simply saying, “If you have to ask, you’ll never understand the reasons”.  Others gave long answers that detailed every little aspect about the firearm and how it was still superior to most modern firearms.

Besides forums, I found plenty of articles and web pages dedicated to the 1911.  Over on The Truth About Guns they even have an article called “Why The 1911 Doesn’t Suck”.  Others, like Browning.com, have pages reserved for detailing the history of this great firearm.  And of course there is always Wikipedia with its collective knowledge of all the users who contribute.

I read a lot over the past few days and here’s what I learned about the 1911:

History

The 1911, designed by John Browning, a famous firearms designer in the United States, was conceived right around the turn of the century.  In the early 1900’s, the United States Government was looking for firearms to replace those it currently had in service.  Browning answered the call with his semi-auto handgun design and in 1911 it was adopted by the U.S. military as the M1911.

The M1911 saw service for almost 80 years and was with us through WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, as well as several other conflicts.  Even after being officially replaced in 1990 by the M9, the M1911 still found limited use in the military.  Outside the military however it still remains a popular firearm to this day.  Many police departments still use the 1911 as their service pistol.  Outside the U.S. the M1911 saw service in countries including Brazil, Canada, China, the U.K., the Soviet Union, and many others.

Currently the majority of users appear to be civilians.  There are many different reasons people love the 1911 (which I go over a bit more below) but one reason that stands out a lot is its accuracy.  As a result of this, many competition shooters choose to go with a variant of the 1911 as their competition handgun.

Why Its Loved

  • Reliability – Almost everyone who talked about the 1911 mentioned its reliability.  It holds up to repeated use with virtually no complaints.  
  • Parts Availability – Anywhere gun stuff is sold you can find parts and accessories for 1911’s.  From barrells and frames to sights and grips, you can find almost anything you need to buid or repair a 1911.
  • Customization – As I mentioned above, accessories are available everywhere.  You can customize your 1911 to look and feel however you want it to.  For example, there are wider grips if you have big hands and brighter, easier to see sights if you have poor eyesight.
  • Appearance – Many people cited the way the gun looks as the reason why they loved it so much.  In my opinion it certainly is an attractive handgun.
  • Accuracy – The trigger on the 1911 is apparently very well made and easy to pull.  That, combined with the length of the barrel, provide the gun with exceptional accuracy.
  • History – Because the 1911 served with the U.S. military for 80 years it has a good following with military buffs.  Other people look at it as a patriotic firearm that demonstrates our innovation and inventiveness.  Others just like the nostalgia that comes with it.
  • Ergonomics – The 1911 seems to fit well in the hands of just about anyone.  In addition, the handgun’s weight is neither too much or too little.  Its light enough to be held and fired but heavy enough that recoil is reduced more than on other handguns.

Conclusion

Are there handgun designs out there that are better than the 1911?  Probably, but “better” is simply an opinion.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  The 1911 certainly has a lot of positive features, but its not right for every situation.  However, finding any one gun capable of filling every role is probably not likely to happen.

The 1911 has been around for over 100 years and has a following all over the world.  I doubt we will see its popularity decline for a very long time and that’s perfectly fine by me.  If I had the money to buy another handgun it would be a 1911 for sure.  My Sig 1911-22 is a lot of fun but shooting the real deal would be a whole other beast entirely I’m sure.

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I’ve noticed a huge increase in traffic to my blog lately.  With that increase in traffic I’ve only noticed a very slight increase in comments and an even slighter increase in subscribers.  I know the content I provide isn’t extremely professional or original in some cases, but I am trying to improve that all I can.

With that in mind, I thought I would ask my current subscribers and viewers to help me out.  What would you like to see more of on here?  Is there anything I could provide more often or less often that you would appreciate?  I’m still new to most of this blogging stuff but I really enjoy it and I want to be able to provide content that people enjoy.

So if you don’t mind, take a few seconds to vote in the poll below and leave a comment if you can.  Let me know what you like about my blog and what you don’t.  I want to hear it all; you can’t improve without criticism.

Well we’re definitely getting hammered.  When I woke this morning at 8 we had 11 inches.  The snow has not slowed down at all.  Unfortunately for me, when it snows, we’re open 24/7 at work until its cleared.  So here I am, sitting at work with nothing to do but wait.  Thought I would take this time to share some pictures from my house this morning.

We have a tree laying across our power line . . . looks bad

We have a tree laying across our power line . . . looks bad

Looking out the window to back deck

Looking out the window to back deck

Hard to see but its right at 11"

Hard to see but its right at 11″

This is looking out into the back yard where I usually shoot

This is looking out into the back yard where I usually shoot

The snow is very wet and heavy; really weighs the branches down

The snow is very wet and heavy; really weighs the branches down

The snow clings to every branch on the tree.  No wonder so many have fallen

The snow clings to every branch on the tree. No wonder so many have fallen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I had my DSLR camera with me this morning.  There were birds playing in the snow and I wanted to take pictures of them.  Cell phone cameras can take amazing pictures, but they can’t compare to a dedicated camera with a large zoom lens.  Regardless you can see the type of snow we got.  Way more than we’re used to all at once.

Our street departments and electricity companies are all doing a good job though.  Everyone was well prepared this time and power outages aren’t lasting long and roads are being maintained pretty well.  Hopefully that continues through the rest of the storm.

It’s 12:30 now and it hasn’t let up at all.  Only time will tell . . .

 

 

 

I remember having a terrible time when I first decided to go to the range in West Va.  Lots of people I knew had been there but nobody could give me much info about it.  I remember looking online and coming up with little more than a general idea of where it was located.

So I decided to post this to hopefully help others looking to visit this range.

Directions:

From Harrisonburg, Virginia, you need to head west on U.S. Route 33.  This leads you to within a little more than a mile from the range; there’s no need to worry about other roads until you cross the mountain and enter West Virginia.

When you reach the bottom of the mountain on the West Virginia side (3.4 miles from the state line) there is a road off to the right with a sign indicating there is a shooting range.  This is FDR 151.  There is a very tiny sign that says “151” but don’t be looking for that.  The range sign is much larger and easier to see.  Take this turn and continue for just over one mile.  During that mile there is only one more turn you make (a slight turn to the right) and its clearly marked and easy to see.

Be prepared for a long slow ride.  That one mile takes me about 6 or 7 minutes.  It’s a one lane gravel/dirt road all the way and its full of holes and ruts.  After a lot of rain, there’s plenty of mud as well.  If you have a small car like me, keep this stuff in mind.  FDR 151 is also completely surrounded by trees.  Its entirely possible that after a storm (or even moderate winds) trees could be down in the way.

Once you make it through all those perils however, you’re there.

Set Up:

There are two seperate ranges, one for pistols and one for rifles.  Both have their own parking areas but they’re close enough that walking between them is no issue at all.  There is a bathroom near the rifle range’s parking but it has no running water.  If you intend to wash your hands after shooting (or using the bathroom for that matter) plan to bring your own water.

The rifle range is set up with 7 or 8 benches in a shelter that is covered by a roof.  There are large cans at both end of the shelter for disposing of trash.  Please take advantage of this because this is a free range after all and not frequently maintained.  The pistol range does not have any shelter but if its raining you probably aren’t going to be shooting anyway.

The rifle range is marked out to 25, 50, and 100 yards.  They don’t have the numbers posted but there is a hill behind each set of targets and it’s easy to tell where each is.  Each distance has metal posts with string tied between them for hanging your targets as well.  You should always bring some extra string however; if the string is broken, there is no replacement.  On the left side of the range there is a gravel path that leads all the way to the 100 yard mark.

Rules:

There is a board posted at the rifle range that lists all the rules.  Most are common sense and basic safety things but I wanted to share a few that you might not consider.

1)  They do not allow shotguns.  Many people use shotguns there but its clearly posted that they are not allowed so to be safe just leave the shotgun at home.
2)  No clay shooting.  I assume this has to do with the broken pieces that end up all over the range.  It makes a mess and even the biodegradable stuff takes time to disappear.
3)  No shooting bottles, electronics, glass, or basically any target that isn’t made of paper or cardboard.  There is glass and plastic everywhere from people who don’t follow this rule and its very disrespectful and dangerous.

And always do your best to clean up when you leave.  I pick up all my brass (or steel in my case) and throw away all the targets I don’t keep.  In addition I always pick up some trash that others before me have left.  Its a free range and I try to leave it at least a little cleaner than when I arrived.  If you don’t want to help clean up at least leave a donation (not that you can’t do both) in the locked drop box across from the rule board.  Its a big cylinder looking thing.  Someone has to maintain the area and if it becomes too expensive they could start charging a fee or just close it all together.

Looking out toward targets

Looking out toward targets

There are 7 or 8 benches

There are 7 or 8 benches

Looking from the benches to the parking/entrance

Looking from the benches to the parking/entrance

**  There will be an ammo update this evening between 6pm and 8pm so check back!  **